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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - Battery Life, Connectivity and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Battery Life and Connectivity

One of the most impressive specs of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is its 3100mAh battery. That's a full 600mAh more than the original Galaxy Note, and it supplies this new model with impressive stamina.

Set to playing a video file at full screen, with Wi-Fi and 3G switched off (this is out standard test for tablet battery life) and screen brightness set to 50 per cent, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 lasted for just under 12 hours. That's enough to keep you entertained over the period of most long-haul flights, and is hugely impressive given how small and light the phone is.

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In normal use, as ever, the stamina will depend on approximately 376,000 thousand factors. Make judicious use of 3G and you can expect to get a minimum of two solid days out of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Only switch on connections when they're needed and you can stretch that out even longer.

There are a great many connection types on offer here, raring to zap that power. It's LTE-compatible, but that's not of much use yet in the UK until the first networks get their 4G offerings of the ground. EE will be the first, due to kick off its 4G offering towards the end of the year.

Advanced connections we can use right now include high-speed 21 Mbps HSUPA, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. Wi-Fi Direct lets you connect directly to other Wi-Fi Direct devices and trade data without actually having an internet connection.

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, and was one of the most notable absences from the iPhone 5 - hence making it a thing for the Note 2 and Galaxy S3 to bear proudly. It can be used in various food outlets on the high street to buy small items like cups of coffee, and Samsung has made sure it's of some use even if you have no interest in such transactions - enter S Beam.

S Beam is Samsung's marrying of the NFC and Wi-Fi Direct technologies. Put two S Beam compatible devices back to back and they'll be able to pair over NFC, before transferring files over the much faster Wi-Fi Direct standard. If that all sounds a bit too much like the tech version of a saucy nature documentary, Wi-Fi Direct also stands alone within the file transfer sections of apps like the Gallery.

The Wi-Fi connection can also be used to transfer video, over another Samsung standard called AllShare. This has been around for years, and connects all sorts of Samsung products including TVs, Blu-ray player, tablets and phones. It's actually little more than a branded version of the DLNA streaming standard, there to make the tech a bit simpler for non tech-heads to use. With it you can share, videos, pictures and music.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will also be able to output video directly to a TV using a Samsung MHL cable. That microUSB-sized port on the bottom may look like a standard tiddly USB slot, but it's actually cleverer than that. MHL can transfer HD video and surround sound up to 7.1.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 improves the series formula in several important respects. It looks better, the stylus feels better and the tech has been bumped-up in almost every respect. The only slight downer is that as the original Note proved a commercial success rather than an entirely niche device limited to geeks/freaks/giants, this second edition is a bit pricier.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Camera 8
  • Design 8
  • Features 10
  • Performance 9
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Value 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Martin Daler

August 30, 2012, 9:53 pm

Curious that you list its size ("it's massive") under 'Cons'. Strictly speaking its size is neither a pro nor a con, it is simply a feature. Whether that feature translates in to a pro or a con depends on the benefit it brings, or the opposite.

Sounds picky, I know, but in this instance it is especially relevant - after all the size of the thing is considered to be its primary benefit by many, the very USP which sets it apart from the crowd and the reason why they buy it.


September 1, 2012, 12:49 am

Your banner statement says 'better than the original in every way'.

Well the screen of the note 2 has a lower resolution. I haven't seen the two phones together, so i don't know if this is noticeable.

Sure, there are improvements in many areas but I do not see enough of an change to warrant replacing a less than one year old note with the note 2 at a cost of around £500. I will be waiting for note 3.

Jon moonbeamsyndicate

September 26, 2012, 5:05 am

No NFC? Are you sure?

Jon moonbeamsyndicate

September 26, 2012, 5:13 am

No, you're definitely wrong about the Note 2 not having NFC- it DOES- the Note 10.1 does not... And Malcy? Isn't the Original Note a 1280x800 PenTile matrix? The Note2 has good old RGB stripe... that's going to look a whole lot better... and effectively be higher resolution since PenTile sort of cuts res in half...
Admittedly though, I was hoping for a 1080P screen on this... was disappointed they couldn't manage that and still get decent battery life...

Martin Daler

October 3, 2012, 2:36 am

why the yen for 1080p screen resolution? Accepting human vision resolution of about 1/60 degree, and assuming the screen width of about 2.7", you would need to hold the device no further than about 8.6" (about two palm widths) from your face to get the benefit.

Much further away and the benefit of all that resolution would be squandered. Whereas at 720 points across the 2.7" screen width you are faced with a viewing distance of just under 13" under the same assumptions.

I suppose both are do-able. I've just had a butchers at my phone and find that I tend to hold it at about a 1.5 foot. Eight inches seems oppressively close, for me.


October 3, 2012, 7:04 pm

Anyone wondering why these comments about NFC are here - they're from the preview article written a while back. If there are any more Qs about the Note 2, fire away.


October 3, 2012, 7:30 pm

Thanks for the excellent detailed review, been looking for something as in depth on this device for a while and consequently have now ordered mine to arrive next week....question is, I was led to believe these devices are not yet LTE compatible and will have to wait for the LTE batch to come out, is that right?

Nick G

October 4, 2012, 2:06 pm

I agree with Martin. "It's massive" is not a Con - it's the entire point of this device! If a user wanted a smaller one, they'd buy the SIII. This should be a "Pro" not a "Con". It's like reviewing an iPad and then complaining it's not as small as an iPod Touch...


October 4, 2012, 2:16 pm

Thanks THX1138, glad it was useful. We've checked with Samsung and the LTE devices are indeed separate. Sounds like they'll be coming to the UK within a week or two though.


October 4, 2012, 2:32 pm

I changed the con so it's a bit more... relevant when the full review came out. The previous con was there on the preview.

I agree the size in its most abstract sense isn't a con, but it is something every potential Note 2 owner needs to consider.


October 6, 2012, 7:34 pm

If you do a follow up worth showing the split screen mode rolled out in a firmware upgrade yesterday, its pretty nifty for multi tasking.


October 7, 2012, 12:54 pm

You state

Samsung includes a second rear with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, one that apes the Pebble Blue finish of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and has an integrated front flap screen protector.

But every un boxing video I have looked at ever is nothing included.


October 10, 2012, 11:40 am

It is mentioned in the article that the device is LTE/4G ready but when speaking with a Samsung sales assistant on the weekend, I was told that the version currently on sale does not support 4G


October 24, 2012, 11:05 am

I have bought the Note 2 and can confirm that you do need to buy the LTE version to get 4G. Saying that, considering the prices just announced for a 4G contract then the 3G version will suffice thank you very much. Unless you dont have a home broadband connection and will need to do much more than check email and the odd You Tube vid then 3G is all you need. As for the note 2, well what a great phone this is. Lets be clear, it is big and some may well not be able to cope with that but they will be the ones missing out. The device is blisteringly fast and takes to multi-tasking like a duck to water. There is no lag what so ever. The battery life is amazing. Normal usage will give you two days use with no effort at all. I have tried to run the battery down by hitting it with lots of calls, surfing, screen on full resolution, YouTube vids ect,ect but having taken it off charge at 05:30 it still had 7% battery left at 23:30. As said, normal use will get you two days, which is brilliant considering whats under the hood. The S-Pen is a gem and once you get familiar with all it can do it becomes indespensible. The OCR is the best i've ever seen but despite some advertising to the contrary it will not replace tapping out a quick text with your thumbs any time soon. My favourite use for the pen so far is the screen shot taking. Works like a dream. Before buying this i had a Sony tablet and a Sony phone. If you think you need, like I did, to have the best of both worlds and only have to carry about one device then the Note 2 is for you without question. I now don't even notice the size when using as a phone. That said, the fashion conscious will just discard it without thought i suspect and I don't expect to see any teenagers with one anytime soon. But for a 45 year old with diminishing eye sight and a demand for a phone with a very sensibly sized screen and a battery that actually is up to the job then this is the perfect phone bar none. Until the Note 3/4 comes out and 4G eventually becomes sensibly priced then the Note 2 is really all you could ever need from a mobile device.

Mike B

November 25, 2012, 9:43 pm

I have had a play with the this device in two stores and both times the user interface seemed to be very slow. The second time I played with it I decided to re-boot the unit and then everything came back to, what I would call, a normal operating speed.

Have owners noticed a need to re-boot these devices frequently? Is this just something Android users have to do all the time?


December 24, 2012, 11:18 am

can anybody tell me... how to deactivate automatic pen sensing for Samsung galaxy note 2....?


December 31, 2012, 7:50 pm

It is hard to believe but this business oriented device fails to implement the standard Android 4 spelling checker. So no red wavy line under incorrectly spelt words, only the corrections supplied by the predictive input. Also if you take a photo, and opt to share it via email, you don't get an iOS like option to choose what size image to send! I really don't get why Andriod is so liked as an OS, in its quest to provide customisation it seems to make many things more difficult.


January 17, 2013, 12:24 pm

Nop, coming from nexus S, this device is pure speed!!! It's like a flash, you press, it responds... nothing other device give me this joy of use! Simply passionate!


January 17, 2013, 12:26 pm

oh, and reboot is thing of past, nowadays you can open so many apps, and the note 2 keep the speed!! without any lag at all!!! but mine is 4g LTE, and from Portugal, i don't know if it counts...

Toni F

January 22, 2013, 4:17 pm

I have no lag, no rebooting my note 2 runs smooth evenIwith multiple windows open I haven't a hiccup with this phone and my battery last me up to 12hrs with heavy use. I only have to charge my phone once a day when I use it heavily and on light to med use the battery will last up to two days. I purchased a battery flip case and haven't had to use it yet. I didn't belive that the battery life on this phone was that great but after having it now I'm a believer.

Toni F

January 22, 2013, 4:22 pm

I think you go into settings then go to s pen there you should be able to durable that feature of that doesn't work search the Internet or go to one of the forums they should have the answer there

Toni F

January 22, 2013, 4:28 pm

My son just turned 19 and he and his friends just ditched their iphones for the note 2. I don't know where you're from but you'd be surprised to see how many younger people as well as older folks have or want the note 2. My daughter is 14 and she wants one for her 15th birthday. Grant it I agree it is a perfect phone for those whose vision is failing but I don't see a specific age category for this phone.

swaroop k

February 14, 2013, 8:07 am

"Corning's toughened glass has become the smartphone industry standard,
and the second generation makes it thinner, and even stronger." - the glass is too fragile that it broke when my note 2 fell from office table upside down


May 30, 2013, 9:46 am

i am using Samsung Galaxy Note 2 since last 3 months and trust me its awesome. ! Basic need of Huge battery back up is fulfilled here.! The S Pen stylus does a great job and you wont find any glitches even though you loading thousands of application on your phone.!! Tablet cum Phone. 5/5 Stars.


August 18, 2013, 10:54 pm

there are actually two versions of Note2, the N7100 - international version is NOT a Corning Gorilla Glass. Only the Korean Version is Gorilla Glass.

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